[Ed. note: Twitter tells me that it was DraftExpress.com who broke this story; so the ONE day of the week my day doesn't start with them . . . something happens. Ha. All power to DraftExpress! No slight was intended by giving the initial props to ESPN]
The Houston Rockets have reportedly traded sharp shooting wing Chase Budinger (1 yr, $885,120 remaining contract) to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Why write about this on the Utah Jazz SBN blog? Well, both of those teams are potential rivals in an increasingly jam packed Western Conference. Houston HAD the playoffs in the bag, but collapsed down the stretch. Minny was right there with us until Ricky Rubio had a season ending injury. Both teams look to get significantly better this off-season. As a result, both teams could leap-frog us. And ultimately, that's why when they make moves we need to see what they've done.
The Rockets give up Chase Budinger (40.2% from deep last year) and the rights to Lior Eliyahu for the Number 18 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. So that's really all it takes to get either a sharpshooter or a middle first round pick. You know, if you care what either of those things go on the open market. Houston is just silly with movable parts right now, with the #14, 16, and 18 draft picks. Which they could use to move up in THIS draft, or tempt another team to do something silly (like the Orlando Magic and their Dwight Howard headache).
Oh by the way, that #18 pick is our pick that we had to give to the Wolves because we made the playoffs. So, that one game we could have lost to Golden State (to screw their tanking aspirations -- which could have given us the lotto pick to get Lillard) could have also prevented the seemingly eventual move of Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets. Two moves to make the Jazz better in the long run (and have less competition) were aborted because of our "Win now. Always!" doctrine. Instead we got pounded deep and repeatedly by the San Antonio Spurs ' Tony Parker in HD, and the pieces fell to reward Mark Jackson's tanking philosophy and possibly make the hated Rockets blast off again.
Feels good, man.